Interim Orders awarded inter parte against Ali Asger Shabbir

Friday, 5 January 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Dr. Shabbir Abbas Gulamhusein, a renowned businessman who had built and owned numerous business enterprises in Sri Lanka, passed away on 9 June 2017. Thereafter the youngest son of the businessman, Ali Asger Shabbir, alleged that the deceased had written a Last Will gifting the entirety of his estate solely to him. It was purported that the Last Will was a five-witness will and not one signed by a lawyer or notary. Subsequent to the testamentary proceedings, it has come to light that the Last Will is a forgery.  

Criminal investigations by the Fraud Bureau has revealed that two of the ‘witnesses’ of the purported Last Will have confirmed that they never signed such a Last Will nor did they even know the deceased businessman. The widow, the brother and the rest of the family of Dr. Shabbir Abbas Gulamhusein are suing the youngest son Ali Asger Shabbir in the Commercial High Court, alleging multiple counts of forgeries and frauds to grab the estate of the deceased by falsifying documents and forging a Last Will.   

Ali Asger Shabbir also claimed that the deceased sold to him 99.99% shares of a company Adamexpo Ltd. prior to his death. Suspecting similar foul play, the family members, investigated the share transfer and subsequently filed a case in the Commercial High Court wherein it was alleged that the transfer is a forgery. 

The High Court Judge Mahinda Samayawardhana issued a series of interim orders regulating the affairs of the company in view of the seriousness of the allegations made. The Petitioners were represented by Manoj Bandara with Hasitha Gamage instructed by Sudath Perera Associates.

The interim orders issued prevents Ali Asger Shabbir and Lawrence Mervyn Fritzgerald Adams from passing any board resolution and/or taking any management decision of Adamexpo Ltd. whatsoever, without the prior approval of the Court, and preventing the voting on any of the shares allegedly transferred. The Court has further prevented any alienation of the assets of Adamexpo Limited and suspends all arrangements by Ali Asger Shabbir to sell the assets of the company. 

Upon receipt of notice of the Interim orders, Ali Asger Shabbir filed an application to vacate the interim orders. Considering the submissions filed by both Parties, on 21 November 2017, the Learned High Court Judge refused to vacate the interim orders and extended the said interim orders until the conclusion of the matter.

It is reported that in his unsuccessful attempt to have the interim orders vacated, Ali Asger Shabbir has filed in Court further false documents and affidavits from one Thilini Dilusha Gamage, who falsely claimed to be the secretary of the company, in support of the share transfer. The plan backfired when the family members filed the passport of the deceased businessman in Court showing that he was not in the country on the day of the alleged transfer, and official receipts issued by the Registrar of Companies showing that the purported secretary Thilini Dilusha Gamage was not in fact the secretary. 

Further allegations have been made against several employees of Ali Asger Shabbir, namely Thilini Dilusha Gamage and Malayandi Jeyaprakash, that they filed false affidavits in Court at the insistence and instructions of Ali Asger Shabbir. It is alleged that Ali Asger Shabbir had a habit of defrauding banks and finance institutions by falsifying the records maintained by the Registrar of Companies.

Moreover, there have been a number of complaints made to law enforcement agencies in relation to fraudulently obtained loans and facilities by the said Ali Asger Shabbir. It is alleged that Ali Asger Shabbir has forged multiple signatures. 

Ali Asger Shabbir was represented by Kanag-Isvaran PC, the 3rd and 4th Respondents, Lawrence Mervyn Fritsgerald and Adam Corporate Secretarial Ltd. were represented by Kuvera De Soyza PC, instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam PC, the 5th Respondent Union Bank of Colombo PLC was represented by Romesh De Silva PC, the 6th and 7th Respondents, LOLC Finance PLC and Commercial Leasing & Finance PLC were represented by Palitha Kumarasinghe PC. The Respondent has appealed seeking revocation and variation of the above-mentioned orders and this appeal is to be taken up on 8 January in the Supreme Court.